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Phone app alerts CPR trained citizens of nearby cardiac arrest incidents

Ramsey County is rolling out a new smartphone app that alerts people trained in CPR to any cardiac arrest incident that may be near them.

“If a citizen, a bystander can intervene and if they can find an AED, our efforts can be much more effective and we’re finally going to move the mark on cardiac arrest survivability in our communities,” said Maplewood EMS Chief Mike Mondor.

A new smartphone app, called PulsePoint, uses the phone’s geo-tracking technology to alert those trained in CPR to a nearby cardiac arrest. The app is tied into the Ramsey County 911 center to send out push notifications when a cardiac arrest call comes in.

“It’s going to show my location by the blue dot,” said Ramsey County Emergency Communications Manager Johnathan Rasch. “It’s going to show me the location that’s been reported of the cardiac arrest. And then, that AED icon is showing me the location of a public AED, and so that is visible here. And so, if I scroll around a little bit I can see things that might be nearby.”

The goal is to save time.

Every minute that a victim goes without oxygen to their brain reduces the chances of survival significantly,” said Lakeview Hospital Medical Director Dr. Bjorn Peterson. “So, by getting this technology out and letting the community respond to these events and help each other, we can double or even triple the chances that victim is going to survive. And not just survive, but with minimal to none of permanent brain damage.”

It’s about life and power, all in the palm of our hands.

“The opportunity to save someone when they are literally nearing death’s door is something that’s rare and it can change someone’s lives literally forever,” said Chief Mondor. “So, by downloading this app we ensure that more people are ready to save our neighbors.”

St. Louis Park, Winona, and Moorehead are already using this technology. Ramsey County says there were 60 cardiac arrest events in the county last year where a bystander could have made a difference in saving a life.